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Red Lentils served in 3 bowls over rice and topped with cilantro
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4.88 from 33 votes

Red Lentils Recipe (Masoor Dal)

Quick and easy Red Lentil Curry, also known as Masoor Dal, made in the instant pot and stovetop. This super delicious, healthy and budget friendly vegan meal can be made in less than 30 minutes! 
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian, North Indian
Keyword: red lentil curry, red lentil dal, red lentil instant pot
Diet: Gluten-free, Vegan
Method: Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker, Stovetop
Servings: 4
Calories: 217kcal
Author: Meeta Arora



For Basmati Rice


  • Start the pressure cooker in sauté mode and let it heat. Add oil and cumin seeds. Sauté for 30 seconds.
  • When the cumin seeds change color, add green chili, onions, ginger and garlic. Sauté for 3 minutes until the onions become golden brown while stirring frequently.
  • Add tomato and spices. Stir and sauté for another 2 minutes. 
  • Add the lentils, water and stir well. 
  • (For pot-in-pot rice) Place the trivet. In a bowl, add all ingredients for basmati rice and place it on top of the trivet. Close the lid with vent in sealing position. 
  • Press cancel and close lid with vent in sealing position. Change the instant pot setting to manual or pressure cook mode at high pressure for 5 mins. 
  • After the instant pot beeps, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, then release the pressure manually (5 minute NPR). 
  • Open the pot. Add the lime juice and stir the dal. 
  • Garnish with cilantro. Serve dal with roti, naan or rice. 

For stovetop pressure cooker

  • Follow the same steps as above. In the stovetop pressure cooker, cook for 1 whistles (about 5 minutes) and let the pressure release naturally.

For stovetop pot

  • In a large pot over medium heat, follow the same steps as the recipe above. After adding lentils and water, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and cover to cook until the lentils are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.



Optional Tempering when serving: In a small pan, heat ghee or oil. Add some cumin seeds and sliced garlic. Cook for about 30 seconds to a minute until the garlic becomes golden in color. Then take the pan off heat and add a pinch of red chili powder. I prefer Kashmiri red chili powder, as it is not spicy. Drizzle this tempering over the dal when serving. It adds a beautiful pop of color!
Make it less spicy: Skip the green chili and red chili powder. 
Which Green chili to use? I typically use Thai, Birdeye or Serrano Chili Pepper in my recipes. Don't forget to adjust to your taste. 
Vegan Variation: Skip ghee and use vegan oil of your choice.
Created: This recipe was created in a 6qt Instant Pot DUO60 Multi-use Programmable Pressure Cooker.


Calories: 217kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 640mg | Potassium: 556mg | Fiber: 15g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 430IU | Vitamin C: 11.8mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 4mg